Supporting the Safety of LGBTQ+ Students and Families

Our Vision

Our vision is for Santa Cruz County to be a model of safe and inclusive schools for all students and families and especially for LGBTQ students. The research is clear: when students feel safe, supported and included in school, their learning increases, their engagement increases and more students graduate from high school who are college and career ready.

Background Info

State and local laws have been passed to guide schools and teachers about the treatment and support of LGBTQ students include:

  • Suicide Prevention Policies in Schools and ongoing professional learning (2016).  EC 215. CDE Guidance
  • California Healthy Youth Act mandates Comprehensive and Inclusive Family Life Education (2015): EC 51930-51939.  CDE Guidance
  • School Success and Opportunity Act identifies treatment of transgender students (2013) EC 221.5.  CDE Guidance
  • Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Act mandates the teaching of  LGBTQ History in history classrooms. (2011). EC 51204.5.  CDE Guidance
  • Seth’s Law added sexual orientation and gender identity to anti bullying school policies (2011): EC 234.5.  
  • Safe Place to Learn Act (2007) EC 234 . 

Most school districts include policies that are supportive of LGBTQ students and families may be interested in reading these policies from your school district:

  • 5137: Positive School Climate
  • 5145.3: Non Discrimination / Harassment / Treatment of Transgender Students
  • 1312.3: Uniform Complaint Procedures
  • 6142.8: Comprehensive Health Education
  • 6142.94: Social Science Instruction

Our Support Actions

Toward the vision of Santa Cruz County being a model of safety and inclusiveness for LGBTQ students, our ongoing support includes:

  •      The county LGBTQ task force composed of representatives from all school districts, charter schools and independent schools in Santa Cruz County meets quarterly to identify the ongoing needs of our LGBTQ students. See the 2018-19 Task Force members here.
  •      The yearly Comprehensive Safe Schools Plan developed by every school now includes a safety component addressing LGBTQ student safety. With the help of the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County we are reaching out to students and LGBTQ student clubs to be included on our ongoing conversations. See student panel recommendations from November, 2018.
  •      Every department within the County Office is continually identifying ways we can make all of our schools more safe, supportive and inclusive for all students.  Finally, we have developed a plan to guide schools and school districts in ways to make all schools safer and more inclusive for LGBTQ students and their families.
  • The Santa Cruz COE was excited to host a virtual celebratory LGBTQ+ History Month Kick Off event on Oct. 1, 2020 at 3pm-4:30pm. The event convened LGBTQ+ student leaders and allies, local Santa Cruz County Board trustees, local elected officials, and educators to celebrate the accomplishments of LGBTQ+ people in history who are remembered as champions of social justice and who took important actions to enhance the health, well-being, and sense of community for LGBTQ+ people in the United States. View the recording of the event below.

Upcoming Events

We are excited to announce a the launch of the Santa Cruz COE Alliance for Youth Action in Winter 2021 in partnership with Queer and Trans Youth Council of Santa Cruz County. The Alliance will be a multi-disciplinary group comprised of a number of student leadership groups throughout Santa Cruz County to share ideas, learn new skills, and support one another’s initiatives. The group will meet as a collaborative bi-monthly to build community, leadership, and sustainable change. For more information about this new offering, please contact Celeste Gutierrez at or (831) 466-5713.  

Apply to join New Voices here.

Special LGBTQ+ History MAH Event for Educators. The Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, in partnership with the Safe Schools Project of Santa Cruz County, is hosting a FREE special online event to tour the Queer Santa Cruz Exhibit and to share new education related lesson plans and opportunities from the MAH for educators across the county. This is happening on Oct. 14th at 3pm – register for the event here

Another wonderful LGBTQ+ resource we have available to us this month is the LGBTQ+ Booklist that the Santa Cruz Public Library has compiled. View the book list here. 


Listed below are resources for principals, teachers, students and families:


State Organizations:


Families and Community: